New rules aid lawyers' cash-flow

THE LAW Society has set new rules in motion which will improve lawyers' cash-flow.

The society says the changes to the remuneration certification system, which allows clients to challenge fees, are designed to reduce disagreements over costs.

Clients will now have to pay at least half the cash, all disbursements and Vat, before they can request a certificate.

Natalie Breeze, of the society's legal practice directorate, says: “Some clients who were reluctant to pay bills were using the certificates as a delaying tactic.

“We had to find a way of improving solicitors' cash-flow which was not too detrimental to clients.”

Research shows it is “very rare” for a bill to be reduced by over 50 per cent, she says.

The new rules also mean that solicitors who deduct fees from client accounts are now obliged to warn clients that they are entitled to a remuneration certificate.

But the procedure will no longer be available to disgruntled clients when the bill is more than u50,000. Disputes over such large figures are better dealt with in the courts, it has been decided.